casual · city centre · Dinner · Japanese · Oriental · seafood · Sushi

Sushimania, Chapel Bar Nottingham City Centre

We entered Sushimania with the sole intention of putting them out of business.

The all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant recently opened on Chapel Bar and has been on our hit list ever since – we both like sushi and reckon we can eat a lot of it. Unlike some all you can eat restaurants, this sushi is made/served to order rather than sitting out waiting for you to pile it on your plate. They also do other hot dishes to order like noodles and salmon/beef/chicken. After a recent trip to Yo Sushi, which we love, we only stopped eating as the bill was racking up so all you can eat for £16.50 sounded too good to be true.

Don’t take that price at face value though, the reality is that there are some limitations to your consumption and a set of rules you need a PhD to remember:

  • Time. Max 1hr 45mins. The way the order form is structured it seemed like we were limited to 3 rounds of ordering or 1hr 45mins, whichever comes first (though we didn’t confirm this)
  • Order limit. You can only order 6 items at a time per table. However, you can double up depending how many people on your party. So 2 orders of each of there are two of you, 3 of each if there are 3 etc
  • Supplement charges. A lot of the high-end items also had a steep extra charge (up to £8!) or a limit on how many times they could be ordered
  • Wastage charge. Excessive wasting is charged at the a la carte price. Better make sure you like it first

Phew. This confusing system took a minute to get our heads around, the server did a good job of enthusiastically explaining everything though. It’s worth noting that the deal is only available to tables of 2 or more (a solo diner on the next table to ours left in a huff when he was forced to go a la carte).

One crazy sushi rule we took advantage of was doubling up on our limit of 6 dishes at a time. This was what ultimately led to our downfall. After many evenings studying the menu for weaknesses, planning our eating strategy on a whiteboard and stomach training, the thrill of ordering twice as much as we planned disrupted our foolproof plan to ‘bring down the house.’ We had ambitions bigger than our bellies.

For round one, we opted for:

  • Salmon sashimi
  • Chicken kushiyaki (grilled skewers)
  • Kimchi
  • California rolls
  • Hoisin duck yosomaki
  • Raw prawn nigiri

The kimchi was a must, it was sour and spicy and went really well as a side with all the other sushi bits we ordered throughout the meal. The barbecued kushiyaki chicken skewer was really nice with a sweet yet charred flavour, but the chicken didn’t seem of great quality. On the flip side, the quality of the sashimi seemed good and they were the highlight of the meal – the salmon was just delicious and melted in your mouth with it’s fresh, subtle flavour. We guessed this is why there’s a 3-order limit on the salmon sashimi, it’s too good!

The yosomaki and california rolls were the basics of sushi ordering, good quality ingredients and satisfyingly tasty with pickled ginger and soy sauce. The duck was tasty, the flavours of a crispy duck pancake in a rice roll with a sticky hoisin sauce. We later realised you could order the duck as a sushi cone, which would have been even better. The rice was starting to bloat us up like unsuspecting pigeons, however we persevered onto round 2.

We included a couple of hot dishes in the next six plates:

  • Salmon teriyaki
  • Chicken yaki soba (Stir fried chicken noodle dish)
  • Spicy tuna yosomaki
  • Beef kushiyaki (grilled skewers)
  • Chicken katsu rolls
  • Octopus nigiri
  • Vegetable gyoza

The teriyaki with the salmon was ok, but the cut of salmon itself was not great, and it was lazy cooking. The sauce was simply a sweet soy drizzled quickly on an anaemic grilled salmon fillet after cooking, which meant no depth of flavour. Some patches were bland and it generally just didn’t set the world on fire.

The chicken noodles were a bit over cooked which made them mushy and a bit bland. The chicken was tasty though and the beansprouts has a nice crunch.

The beef skewers weren’t as nice as the chicken, they had a good oriental flavour but they were a bit dry and tough.

Hoping for buttery soft octopus, we were disappointed as it was a bit rubbery. Not drastically so but enough that we left a couple and wouldn’t re-order. Again, these were quite bland.

The more rice rolls we tried weren’t near the standard of Yo Sushi, but were better than the stuff you get in your average Boots meal deal. We’ve decided if you want chicken katsu, just order it on its own with that sweet curry sauce, avocado and sushi rice doesn’t do it many favours.

The veggie gyoza came out on top as the favourite from this round of orders. Although we both prefer steamed over deep fried, the flavour here was good, the pastry was crispy and they went well with the dipping sauce and kimchi.

Everything here lacked a punch of flavour, especially the spicy sauce on the tuna.

At this point I coyly asked Emily what the plan was for the third and final round of ordering/attack. She gave me a look that I immediately interpreted as ‘ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? I WILL LITERALLY EXPLODE IF I EAT ANY MORE RICE’ and I had to agree. After just 2 servings we were beaten. If it was Man vs Food then food won. We had planned to go on for a few drinks after, but we decided we needed to get home/seek medical assistance. 

Overall, a mixed bag. Some of the food was good and some of it was passable. There’s better quality sushi around in Notts unless you prefer quantity – just do your homework first and make sure you have a plan of attack, and if possible enter a training regime a couple of weeks in advance. The one thing that we learnt is that the house always wins (and always max out on salmon sashimi)

Overall: 5/10

Food: 6/10

Atmosphere and surroundings: 5/10

Service: 8/10

Value: 7/10


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